Search

UVW'S ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 27 MARCH 2021

MEMBER Motions 4 – 10

UVW members have brought forward the following motions which will be presented and voted on at our AGM on the 27 March 2021. Find out more about the AGM here.

This meeting notes:

1. Across the world we are seeing a frightening rise in the Far Right and authoritarian regimes. From Bolsonaro in Brazil to racist policing in the UK. Activists and Trade Unionists around the Globe have a. been targeted by the State and imprisoned, many suffering torture, isolation and murder.

b. Reaching out across borders to offer solidarity and support is the bedrock of the Trade Union movement. And never is the need for solidarity felt more acutely than by political prisoners.

2. This meeting instructs the Union to:

a. Engage, initially, with BLMUK, Chile, Basque and Palestinian groups, and any others a sub-committee wishes to include, to establish links to prisoners.

b. Create a prisoner writing club, where members can write to political prisoners and extend their solidarity and break down the torture of isolation for those prisoners.

Proposed by: Katie Leslie
Supported by: James Goldsack

Amendment 1
Insert new paragraph 2 (c): 

“Given Julian Assange’s continuing detention pending extradition to the USA for exposing US and British war crimes, the Union shall advocate for his immediate release from custody and the dropping of all charges against him.”

Proposed by: James Kenyon

Amendment 2
prisoner writing club as a competence of the UVW international secretariat.

Proposed by: Eraldo Strumiello

1. The climate crisis is a social justice issue. Those least responsible and least able to address the crisis face the worst impacts; in the UK many of those are migrant workers in precarious employment with little access to collective bargaining and improved terms. We need a just transition that protects and improves workers’ livelihoods, creates a more inclusive society and stops greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. The UK also faces an unemployment crisis. ONS statistics show that migrant and Black communities have been disproportionally hit by Covid 19, and the redundancies and job losses caused by the pandemic. Tackling the pandemic provides an opportunity to invest in green jobs, a just transition and a fairer society.  

3. The UN COP26 negotiations in Glasgow in November 2021 are crucial to the global response to climate change; yet the UK government continues to back false solutions like carbon markets and block the transformational changes necessary.

4. UK trade unions need to pressure the British government for a green recovery and just transition, and to show leadership as COP26 host. 

5. UVW resolves to:
a. Join the COP26 Coalition and put migrant and precarious workers at the centre of the union response. 
b. Work with civil society allies to campaign for a green recovery that tackles the climate emergency, creates green jobs and is underpinned by a fair deal for workers both here and in the Global South.
c. Support the protests leading up to and during the COP26 climate summit in November 2021.
d. Affiliate to the Campaign against Climate Change and participate in the trade union group.

Proposed by: Katie Leslie
Supported by: James Goldsack

1. Whereas UVW is a members-led trade union which supports and empowers the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid, and often migrant workers.

2. Whereas the UK’s asylum and immigration system is premised on its legacy of colonialism and ongoing imperialist foreign policy. 

3. Whereas the 1971 Immigration Act removed full British citizenship from those born in the colonies and commonwealth, even if already settled in Britain, consigning this and subsequent generations to second class status and precarious immigration rights.

4. Whereas workers without immigration status are prohibited from working, thereby excluding them from the UK’s minimal workplace protections, while workers in detention are encouraged to work 100,000s of hours a year, but paid just £1 per hour.

5. Whereas the UK government’s denial of the right to work is contrary to Article 23 of the UDHR and Article 1 of the ILO’s Convention 111, both of which have been ratified by the UK.

6. Whereas people of all nations and none are united as members of the international working class.

7. It is resolved that:
a. UVW membership is open to workers regardless of nationality (or lack thereof) or whether their right to work is recognised by the UK government.
b. In order to protect the rights of members without immigration status, or whose status is precarious, Home Office staff are prohibited from joining UVW.
c. UVW rejects any attempt to regulate who is a worker based on immigration status.
d. UVW asserts that workers in immigration detention are workers, and should be paid and treated accordingly.

Proposed by: Isaac Ricca-Richardson
Supported by: Franck Magennis, Margo Munroe Kerr, Farheen Ahmed

Amendment 1
Paragraph 7(b)

Replace “Home Office staff are prohibited from joining UVW” with “Home Office staff are presumed to be excluded from UVW membership, subject to review of each application by the Executive Committee”.

Proposed by: Chris Roche

Amendment 2

Paragraph 7(d)

After “treated accordingly.”, add new sentence: “UVW advocates for detained workers’ rights while also advocating for the abolition of all immigration detention, recognising the practice of detention as a serious abuse of human rights.”

Proposed by: Dora Pocsai

1. DCW notes that many of our members are working at home or have lost work entirely due to the pandemic. DCW believes that this has had a devastating effect on the mental health of UVW members, organisers and employees, as the number of employment disputes has also risen 

2. In addition, DCW notes that there is a high rate of staff turnover and staff burnout at UVW, in part due to the complex and demanding nature of the cases and campaigns the union fights. 

3. DCW notes that in order to have a sustainable union, the wellbeing, retention of and the support offered to staff and members is paramount.

4. UVW resolves that:
a. Two representatives on the committee will be selected to oversee staff and member mental health within the union, ensuring that training, support mechanisms and signposting is put in place.
b. These two representatives will also be responsible for overseeing the drafting and implementation of a UVW safeguarding policy for staff, as well as member guidance on conduct when communicating with staff.

Proposed by: Margherita Huntley
Supported by: DCW sector

1. Whereas:
a. the capitalist system has a deepening crisis with dramatic economic and social consequences for workers;
b. governments seek to guarantee the profit of large companies at the expense of the lives of workers;
c. there is a genocidal policy of capital that has led hundreds of thousands of workers to their death.

2. Considering:
a. that our class is not defeated and fights erupt in various parts of the world, in several countries including the most precarious and exploited workers that work for low wages and suffer poor safety conditions at work; 
b. the UVW is in solidarity with those who fight against the exploitation of the capitalist system in the United Kingdom or outside it;
c. that UVW is one of the organisations that signed the manifesto of the International Union Network, an international solidarity union organization independent of the bosses and the traditional bureaucracy that aims to give visibility to the struggles of our class and provide solidarity.

3. The UVW should:
a. help its members to assist in UVW’s international union relations with organizations that have similar objectives to UVW;
b. publicise the struggles of its members so that the International Union Network can include this information in their newsletters and website and also send us solidarity;
c. seek a more militant role with the international union network, thus giving more visibility to the struggles of our class, whether inside or outside of the UK;
d. make a secretariat of international affairs;
e. have the possibility of volunteer members to participate in the secretariat.

Proposed by: Eraldo Strumiello 
Supported by: Fátima Djalo, Miriam Madde Pinto, Chris Hudson, Marisol Urbano, Lydia Hughes, Martin Ralph

Amend paragraph 3(e) to read:

“enable all volunteer members to participate in the secretariat, in the interests of transparency and openness”

Proposed by: Emma Jayne Park

This motion is two-fold: it outlines parameters for the Democracy Review to consider, and details an interim motion until the findings of the Democracy Review are adopted. 

1. The Democracy Review will consider: 
a. What are the parameters for different types of Groups to be constituted?
b. What are the responsibilities and entitlements for each type of Group, including but not limited to: what elected positions are required, how often must a Group hold democratic open meetings, what resources are Groups entitled to? 

2. UVW will adopt the following interim Groups Motion: 
a. Each formalised Sector Group is entitled to £1 per member per month in a ring-fenced budget up to a maximum of £2,000. Each Sector Group is provided with a £200 float for ongoing expenditure from its ring-fenced budget which is to be topped up on production of receipts by the Sector Group’s elected treasurer. The Executive Committee maintains the right to close an inactive Sector Group and transfer all money back to UVW’s central funds. 
b. The allocation of Staff members time must be accountable to the membership. A Staff Hiring and Allocation Sub-Committee will be set-up to make decisions on staff hiring matters and to allocate staff members time. Members, Sector Groups and staff can submit proposals to the Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee will be made up of elected representatives from each Sector Group and the wider membership and it will receive guidance from UVW staff representatives.

Proposed by: Jake Arnfield
Supported by: Section of Architectural Workers (SAW), Legal Sector Workers United (LSWU), Design and Cultural Workers Organising Group (DCW), United Sex Workers (USW)

MOTION 9: UVW Groups Structure – Amendment 1

Alternative text:

This motion is three-fold: it outlines parameters for the Democracy Review to consider, establishes roles to be undertaken by the UVW Executive Committee, and details an interim motion until the findings of the Democracy Review are adopted. 

The Democracy Review will include a consideration of: 

What are the parameters for different types of Groups to be constituted?

What are the responsibilities and entitlements for each type of Group, including but not limited to: what elected positions are required, how often must a Group hold democratic open meetings, what resources are Groups entitled to? 

The UVW Executive Committee to nominate at least 3 members of the Committee to hold the role of Employment Oversight, specifically including: 

Making proposals on staffing to the rest of the Committee including but not limited to recruitment and ensuring that staff are meeting the diverse needs of our membership with a consideration of members both inside and outside of formal Sector Groups.

UVW will adopt the following interim Sector Groups Motion to be applicable until such a time that the Democracy Review conclusions are ready for implementation: 

Each formalised Sector Group with representation on UVW’s Committee and an elected treasurer is entitled to £1 per member per month in a ring-fenced budget. Records of the ring-fenced budgets will be kept by a nominated member of UVW staff and the elected treasurer from each Sector Group will have access to these records. At the start of each month membership records will be checked and records of the ring-fenced budgets will be updated by the nominated UVW staff member. The ring-fenced budget will have a maximum limit of £2,000 at any time for each Sector Group.

The costs of current Sector Group specific staff paid for by UVW will be subtracted from the above-mentioned ring-fenced budget. If the costs of the staff are more than the allocated amount for the month then the ring-fenced budget cannot fall below zero. Staff time spent on Sector Groups outside of a role specifically designated to one Sector Group will come from general UVW funds and not the ring-fenced budget.

Each Sector Group is provided with a £200 float for ongoing expenditure from its ring-fenced budget. Money is to be given in cash to the elected treasurer for each Group or transferred to a designated Sector Group cashcard which is to be topped up on production of receipts by the Sector Group’s elected treasurer. 

The Executive Committee maintains the right to close an inactive Sector Group and transfer all money back to UVW’s central funds. 

Proposed by: Hasan Dodwell Jake Arnfield

Supported by: Jake Arnfield

1. RECOGNISING that UVW is a union which has sex worker members and a sex worker group – the United Sex Workers;

2. CONSIDERING that the criminalisation of sex work makes it dangerous and that current laws in the UK means that sex workers are unable to legally work together for safety, and are discouraged from reporting instances of violence committed against them for fear of being arrested;

3. ACKNOWLEDGING that when sex workers receive criminal records for offences relating to their work, it makes it harder for them to find other employment;

4. RECOGNISING that the push to criminalise those who purchase sex and to close online sex work platforms is not a progressive change from existing, harmful forms of criminalisation, it is a continuation of them;

5. UNDERLINING that further criminalisation of sex work encourages intensified policing which worsens instances of harm and violence;

6. ACCEPTING that enabling sex workers to claim the same legal rights and protections as workers in other industries reduces opportunities for those who currently see them as fair game for criminal exploitation;

7. ACKNOWLEDGING that sex workers are increasingly organising alongside other workers within the trade union movement;

8. RECOGNISING the importance of worker solidarity across sectors and for sex worker members of UVW to have support in their demands for safety and dignity at work;

9. RESOLVES for UVW to adopt an official union position of supporting the full decriminalisation of sex work;

10. AGREES for this position to be publicly referenced by UVW members where relevant;

11. PLEDGES to add a line stating this position to the United Sex Workers page of the UVW website.

Proposed by: Joana Nastari
Supported by: Sex Workers Sector

1. Whereas the Israeli state continues to occupy Palestinian territory and systematically oppress Palestinian people in pursuit of a settler-colonial agenda.

2. Whereas this systematic oppression includes the suppression of Palestinian trade unions and workers’ rights and detriment to their working conditions, including through the destruction of the Palestinian economy, discriminatory and racist laws, and restrictions on freedom of movement and association, including the blockade of Gaza.

3. Whereas Palestinian trade unions and civil society institutions have, since 2005, called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.

4. Whereas various public and civil society organisations from Palestine and beyond have accused Israel of creating an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.

5. Whereas the British state is implicated and has directly contributed historically and at present to the colonisation and dispossession of Palestinians.

6. UVW resolves:

a. To abide by the Palestinians picket line and adhere to boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel;

b. To respect and support the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes;

c. To educate members on the BDS campaign and how they can support it;

d. To approach Palestinian trade unions with a view to twinning UVW with them;

e. Upon successful twinning, to proactively develop organic ties of material solidarity and cooperation between UVW and those Palestinian trade unions;

f. To continue our trade union’s proud tradition of organising with workers in order to understand and confront the scourge of racism in all its forms, whether individual, institutional or societal.

Proposed by: Franck Magennis

Supported by: Katie Leslie, Mishka Nelson, Zehrah Hasan, Zachary Whyte, Farheen Ahmed, James Goldsack

Newsletter

Stay up to date with our latest news, campaigns, trainings and events